Jackie Robinson is an American legend.
Robinson was born January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. In a family of six children, he was the youngest. After Robinson’s father left his family, they moved to Pasadena, California.
As Robinson graduated junior high and enrolled into John Muir High School his older brothers, Mack and Frank, motivated him to persue his talents and interest in sports. Robinson played many sports at the varsity level at Muir High. He played football, basketball, track, and baseball. Robinson played shortstop and catcher in his high school baseball team.
After high school, Robinson attended Pasadena Junior College where he continued to play the sports he loved. However, his brother Frank, who he was closest to, had died in a fatal motorcycle accident. This inspired Robinson to continue his athletic career and transfer to UCLA. During his time at UCLA, Robinson continued to excel in the sports he played.
Robinson’s athletic career was put on hold when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In 1942, Robinson was drafted and assigned to a segregated army. Robinson then served as a coach for army athletics until receiving an honorable discharge in November 1944. At Sam Houston College, the Kansas City Monarchs sent him a written offer to play professional baseball in the Negro leagues. Robinson accepted a contract for $400 dollars per month. This was the start to his baseball career.
Robinson’s baseball story continues up through the Minor Leagues and later the Major Leagues. In 1946, Robinson broke the color barrier by being called up by the Brooklyn Dodgers. His career continued, but with many struggles. Other teams did not want to play against him due to his color. They threatened to strike if he played and many teams also threw the balls at him when he stepped in to bat.
Robinson was among one of the best players in the league during his time, being at the top of the stat charts. Robinson’s career was history making. When he joined the league he broke down the color barrier that was built up during the 1940’s. A famous quote from Robinson’s former white teammate, Pee Wee Reese, said “You can hate a man for many reasons. Color is not one of them.”
Robinson won an MVP award, was voted six times to the all-star team, honored as an MLB rookie of the year, earned a batting title, was the two time stolen base champion, and is now a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Robinson’s career opened many doors for aspiring athletes. Even though he was treated horribly at the beginning of his career he maintained his levelheaded attitude and professional way of playing the game. When asked about what Robinson did for the game and breaking down the color barrier Mr. Weinstein, a huge fan of Jackie Robinson, said “What he went through, his experience was unlike anything anyone else has ever had. It opened up a lot of doors to other people. This was a huge step to getting rid of barriers against groups based on race. This was a way to chip away at the Jim Crow laws, not only in the south, but around the whole country.”
Jackie Robinson’s career was an amazing achievement to say the least. He began the new era of baseball were there was no color barrier. Jackie Robinson is a true idol.